The first Santa Barbara firefighters operated out of City Hall that was located in the center of the grass area of De La Guerra Plaza. A thin partition wall divided the fire department with its clattering horses and steamer from the police department and the meeting rooms of the city council. In 1910, when the city received its first motorized apparatus, a 1910 Pope-Hartford hose and chemical wagon, the front facade had to be refaced and the opening widened to accommodate it.
In 1923, the building was razed and rebuilt in its current location. The fire department was moved to 921 Chapala Street. The new station cost $18,000 to build and the firemen were anxiously awaiting their new headquarters. Once the building was complete however, it was realized that a mistake in planning had been made and it protruded ten feet further than it should have into Chapala Street. The firemen, anxious to move into their new station and not wanting to delay it any longer put their own muscle into tearing down and rebuilding the portion necessary to bring Station 1 into compliance. During the hard times of the 1920's, the station became home to unemployed men needing a place to stay. In exchange for a roof over their heads they were given the option to help fight fires.
In 1960, the present station 1 was completed. Cost of the new station including six new fire engines was $650,000. This money came from a city bond passed in 1958. In 1964, the station was renamed and dedicated to Fire Chief C.L. Tenney, the longest serving Fire Chief in the history of our department. He served as chief from 1938 until his death in 1963.
Station 1 houses a front line engine, a reserve engine, an aerial ladder truck, a reserve aerial ladder truck, a heavy duty squad, a medical rescue unit, a battalion chief's car and several utility apparatus. There is a crew of eight firefighters on duty each day. This crew consists of one battalion chief, a three-person engine and a four-person truck/squad crew. During the day, it is also home to our department administration, prevention and support staff. While the engine crew at Station 1 like any other station has an assigned first-in district, the truck company responds to all structure fires and rescues in the city. Some of the target hazards for Station 1 are City College, the State Street retail district, Granada Theater, several large hotels and retirement villas and Stearns Wharf.
By Fire Engineer Kathi Sizemore
Santa Barbara City Fire Station 2 at 819 E. Cacique was built in 1992 and was first occupied in January 1993. The Station was moved from its former location on 701 E.Haley Street. Station 2, the busiest house in the City. The station serves a very diverse group of customers, from Santa Barbara's homeless shelter to the wealthiest neighborhoods. In addition it serves the major industrial area, the railroad, a portion of Highway 101, a large Spanish speaking population, and a large portion of Santa Barbara's tourist population in the waterfront area.
Engine 2 is a 2006 Spartan HiTech engine staffed by a Captain, Engineer, and a Firefighter. The HazMat Team is quartered at Station 2 and all assigned personnel are HazMat Specialist trained. HazMat 1 is a 2003 Spartan Super Vac apparatus with a command module, stadium lighting, and bottle filling capabilities. HazMat 1 is multi-functional and responds as an air and light unit to major incidents.
Station 2's area is nicknamed "The Jungle" because of the volume and complexity of the responses in the district. "Pride, Protection, & Prevention", the department's motto, is exemplified by the Firefighters of Station 2.
By Fire Captain Franc Chacon 2B
The construction of Fire Station 3, at 415 E Sola St, commenced in 1928. It was completed in 1929 and complied to a 1925 City Ordinance that stipulated that Spanish architecture would be the town's norm.
Points of interest pertaining to station 3 include that it was the home of the City's air raid siren during WWII. The Gamewell Alarm System Center was also housed behind the station (now animal control and prevention file room). Station 3 also was the initial hazmat station before station 2.
Well known landmarks in Station 3's district include the Old Mission, Museum of Natural History, Rocky Nook Park, Alice Keck Park and Alameda Park. The Station itself was deemed a Historical Landmark by the City.
Station 3 currently houses two engines. The front line engine is a 1998 Spartan Hi-Tech and the reserve engine is a 1984 MAC.
By Fire Captain Tony Blanco
Santa Barbara City Fire Station # 4 is located on the Northwest end of the City. The station lies just off the State Street and Hwy 101 corridor and borders up to Santa Barbara County on the West. Los Padres National Forest and Santa barbara County line is our Northern border. The district comprises approximately seven square miles of residential and commercial properties. This district supplies a huge portion of the city's tax base from several high end automobile dealerships and three large shopping malls.
The station was built in 1985 on land that was believed to be the site of an old hanging tree. Local folklore speaks of a ghost that resides at the station named Leo. He apparently was hanged where the station now stands.
The station houses two pieces of fire apparatus. The frontline is a 1995 Spartan Hi-Tech with a 1500 GPM Hale single stage centrifugal pump carrying 750 gallons of water. The reserve apparatus is a 1982 Crown Fire Coach with a 1500 GPM Waterous two stage centrifugal pump carrying only 400 gallons of water. Reserve engine 4 also carries a 50 foot aerial ladder. Additionally, station 4 is the new home of the Fire Safety House. This is a public education prop that introduces fire safety in the home to all the third grade children in the city of Santa Barbara.
By Captain Kevin Bryant 4-A
Station 5 is located at 2505 Modoc Road, in the northwest region of Santa Barbara. It houses a Spartan Hi-Tech Engine, along with a Special Response Unit which is designed to handle large mass casualty incidents. It is home to 3 three-person crews who each work a 24-hour shift. The specialty of the station is the maintenance and repair of the department’s Self Contained Breathing Apparatus.
The station was built in 1966; however, the department just finished a much needed remodel at the end of 2005. Included in some of the improvements are separate bedrooms for each crew member, and an upgraded kitchen and dayroom.
The district is comprised of upper, middle, and lower income families, a high fire hazard brush area, a several mile stretch of Highway 101, and numerous senior care facilities. Additionally, due to our close proximity to Cottage Hospital, many helicopters use the school adjacent to our station as a landing zone to transfer critical patients.
Heidi Rockenbach, Engineer 5C
Santa Barbara City Fire Department Station 6 is located at 1802 Cliff Drive on the Mesa. The station was constructed in 1962, and was built having the same design as its sister Station 7. In 2000 the station was remodeled, including the addition of individual bedrooms and bathrooms to the station. The station currently houses one front line fire engine as well as one reserve engine for emergency response. The crew consists of one Captain, one Engineer and a Firefighter.
Station 6’s district is located in the southwestern portion of fire department’s response jurisdiction. It shares boundaries with Station 5 to its north and Station 1 to its east. Additionally, it shares some mutual aid responses with Santa Barbara County Fire Department. Key areas of interest within the district include the Douglas Preserve, Leadbetter Beach, Santa Barbara Community College, as well as the Santa Barbara Harbor. This often involves cooperative responses with the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol.
By Station 6B Crew:
Capt. Stan Thompson
Eng. Sarah McCarter
FF. Brandon Paige
The construction of Station 7, in the foothills of Santa Barbara, commenced on June 23, 1950. Completion and initial manning occurred in the autumn of that year, with general district boundaries being the Los Padres National Forest(north), Montecito (east), Santa Barbara City proper(south), and the Old Mission lands(west). Service in this area is now accomplished with a 2004 Spartan Hi-Tech pumper w/short wheel base for superior maneuverability. In addition, Station 7 crew members are automatically dispatched to all fires within the Los Padres National Forest front country from Gaviota Pass to the Rincon with their 2001 Master Body Navistar 4900 Series Model 14 brush engine.
Points of interest within 7's district are Mount Calvary Retreat, St. Mary's Seminary, Skofield, Franceschi, Parma, and Harris Parks, the Gibralter Road portal to the Los Padres National Forest, and of course stellar views of mountain and ocean. Also, the Firescape Garden-created in 1985 by SBFD personnel and local landscapers-renowned in the Southwest as an excellent illustration of fire resistive plant life.
In times past, this area has been swept by elemental forces. Coyote Fire(1964). Sycamore Canyon Fire(1977). Earthslides and flashflooding continue to threaten public and private concerns. Through this, the on duty crews are resolute, yet they have old-line sentiments. Their motto? "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice." And that's how 7's rolls.
By Fire Engineer Bill Veazey 7C
Station 8 is located on the airfield at the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport. It's sole responsibility is to provide 24 hour aircraft crash / fire rescue service. The station houses 2 specialized Oshkosh 1500 gallon crash trucks and a light rescue vehicle. Frontline apparatus are 2 modern Strikers with foam, dry chemical and Halotron capabilities. Fire protection is kept at an Index C level.
The three member crew comprised of a Captain and 2 Engineers are Federally ARFF certified with recurrent training required annually. They respond to approximately 65 calls per year. Mutual aid is provided by Santa Barbara County Fire. City Fire units respond from 8 miles to the east.
The original station was a double wide trailer occupied from 1990 to 1997 when the current station was built.
The airport serves commercial, military, and general aviation. There are currently 45 daily commercial flights. The passenger count for 2005 was 853,000 with 151,000 take offs and landings.
By Captain Paul Teschner - Airport Fire Station 8